Here’s the One Photo NFL Protesters Don’t Want You To See

Heres the One Photo NFL Protesters Dont Want You To See

This weekend, the media made heroes out of a group of well-paid sportsmen-turned-protesters, most of whom are not currently experiencing either privation or personal injustice, but decided to exhibit disdain for the American flag because they didn’t agree with the president.

Most of the men who took a knee were millionaires. All of them live in a country that gives them an opportunity to become such. All of them live in a country where the law guarantees that everyone has that opportunity regardless of their race, religion, ethnicity or gender.

Not too long ago, that wasn’t the case. Moral giants like Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Bayard Rustin and James Meredith fought for and got civil rights under the law. They had every reason to complain.

If this latest crop of NFL anthem protesters had the right to turn their back on their country’s flag, surely those individuals — who had fire hoses and police dogs trained upon them for the simple request to be treated as full human beings — had every reason to treat Old Glory and “The Star-Spangled Banner” with nothing but contempt.

That’s why NFL protesters don’t want you to see this photo:

This is Martin Luther King Jr., among others, during the national anthem at the March on Washington in 1963 — hands over hearts, solemnly standing at attention for “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

In the aftermath of this weekend’s anthem protests, a photo of King kneeling made the rounds on social media, making the implicit argument that because King had done it, the kneeling-binge was morally justified.

“On Saturday, the nonprofit Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change tweeted one of the first images, of King down on his left knee in Selma, Ala., on Feb. 1, 1965,” The Washington Post reported. “To his left is friend and fellow civil rights leader Ralph Abernathy, head bowed in prayer. Behind them is a long line of protesters, similarly demonstrating peacefully.”

“Police that day had arrested more than 250 people for parading without a permit as the group had marched to the Dallas County courthouse to register voters. Those arrested eventually would march to jail,” the story continued. “But first, they took a knee.”

That was the photo of King that protesters wanted you to see. Hey, one American hero who died fighting for racial equality in the face of de jure segregation took a knee once. He’s just like these NFL protesters!

What this profoundly facile argument misses is that a) King and others were being arrested for exercising their basic constitutional rights, b) no national anthem was involved, c) no flag was involved, d) they weren’t being paid to be there, e) they weren’t doing it just for the camera and f) they weren’t doing it just because they were annoyed at the president.

To invoke any kind of moral association between Martin Luther King Jr. and the inchoate agenda of the NFL players who decided to take a knee during the anthem this Sunday is ethically glib and logically absurd.

Yet, the one relevant photo of Martin Luther King in this situation — how King treated “The Star-Spangled Banner” during the March on Washington, inarguably the most important protest in American history — was nowhere to be found on social media.

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